Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 262, Issue 2, pp 339–349 | Cite as

Brush cells of the mouse gallbladder

A correlative light- and electron-microscopical study
  • L. Luciano
  • E. Reale


The brush cells (BC) of the mouse gallbladder were studied using light and electron microscopy (transmission and scanning) to determine their shape and distribution. Specimens were fixed in glutaraldehyde and postfixed in ferrocyanide-reduced osmium tetroxide. BC selectively stained with toluidine blue could be identified by means of light microscopy and subsequently studied in serial semithin and ultrathin sections. The results revealed that the shape of the BC is flask-like. A slender, occasionally branched cytoplasmic process emerges from the bulk cell body and extends through the basal region of neighboring epithelial elements to the basement membrane. Examination of the entire gallbladder epithelial surface by scanning electron microscopy revealed that the BC are numerous in the neck region of the organ but only scanty or even absent in wide areas of the corpus region. Their number increases again in the fundic region. These results demonstrate a preferential regional distribution of BC in the gallbladder, which is discussed in relation to a possible functional significance of the BC.

Key words

Brush cells Gallbladder Microvilli Light- and electron microscopy Mouse (NMRI) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Behrman EJ (1980a) On the oxidation state of osmium in fixed tissues. J Histochem Cytochem 28:285Google Scholar
  2. Behrman EJ (1980b) On the oxidation state of osmium in fixed tissues: an addendum. J Histochem Cytochem 28:1032Google Scholar
  3. Chang L-Y, Mercer RR, Crapo JD (1986) Differential distribution of brush cells in the rat lung. Anat Rec 216:49–54Google Scholar
  4. Cordier R (1964) Sensory cells. In: Brachet J, Mirsky AE (eds) The Cell. Vol VI, Academic Press, New York London, pp 331–386Google Scholar
  5. English KB, Burgess PR, Kavka Van Norman D (1980) Development of rat Merkel cells. J Comp Neurol 194:475–496Google Scholar
  6. Gomi T (1982) Electron microscopic study on the alveolar brush cell of the striped snake (Elaphe quadrivirgata). J Med Soc Toho 29:481–489Google Scholar
  7. Gomi T, Kimura A, Tsuchiya H, Hashimoto T, Higashi K, Sasa S (1987) Electron microscopic observations of the alveolar brush cells of the bullfrog. Zool Sci 4:613–620Google Scholar
  8. Hartschuh W, Weihe E, Reinecke M (1986) The Merkel cell. In: Bereiter-Hahn J, Matoltsy AG, Richards KS (eds) Biology of the Integument. Vol 2, Vertebrates. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 605–620Google Scholar
  9. Hoshino Y, Shannon WA Jr, Seligman AM (1976) A study on ferrocyanide-reduced osmium tetroxide as a stain and cytochemical agent. Acta Histochem Cytochem 9:125–136Google Scholar
  10. Iseki S, Kondo H (1989) Specific localization of hepatic fatty acid binding protein in the gastric brush cells of rats. Cell Tissue Res 257:545–548Google Scholar
  11. Isomäki AM (1973) A new cell type (tuft cell) in the gastrointestinal mucosa of the rat. Acta Pathol Microbiol Scand Section A [Suppl] 240:1–35Google Scholar
  12. Karnovsky MJ (1971) Use of ferrocyanide-reduced osmium tetroxide in electron microscopy. Am Soc Cell Biol New Orleans, p 146Google Scholar
  13. Luciano L, Reale E (1969) A new cell type (“brush cell”) in the gall bladder epithelium of the mouse. J Submicrosc Cytol 1:43–52Google Scholar
  14. Luciano L, Reale E (1969) A new morphological aspect of the brush cells of the mouse gallbladder epithelium. Cell Tissue Res 201:37–44Google Scholar
  15. Luciano L, Reale E (1990) The human gallbladder. In: Riva A, Motta PM (eds) Ultrastructure of the Extraparietal Glands of the Digestive Tract. Kluwer, Boston, pp 231–248Google Scholar
  16. Luciano L, Reale E, Ruska H (1968) Über eine “chemorezeptive” Sinneszelle in der Trachea der Ratte. Z Zellforsch 85:350–375Google Scholar
  17. Luciano L, Reale E, Ruska H (1969) Bürstenzellen im Alveolarepithel der Rattenlunge. Z Zellforsch 95:198–201Google Scholar
  18. Luciano L, Wermbter G, Reale E (1973) Die Feinstruktur der Gallenblase und der Gallengänge. III. Beobachtungen an gefriergeätzten Präparaten der Gallenblase der Maus unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der dichten Körper und des Verbindungskomplexes. Cytobiologie 7:76–88Google Scholar
  19. Luciano L, Castellucci M, Reale E (1977) Die Feinstruktur der Gallenblase und der Gallengänge. VI. Rasterelektronenmikroskopische Beobachtungen an den Bürstenzellen des Choledochus der Ratte. Beitr Elektronenmikroskop Direktabb Oberfl 10:469–476Google Scholar
  20. Luciano L, Castellucci M, Reale E (1981) The brush cells of the common bile duct of the rat. Thin section freeze fracture and scanning electron microscopy. Cell Tissue Res 218:403–420Google Scholar
  21. Munger BL, Yoshide Y, Hayashi S, Osawa T, Ide C (1988) A re-evaluation of the cytology of cat Pacinian corpuscles I. The inner core and clefts. Cell Tissue Res 253:83–93Google Scholar
  22. Murray RG (1973) The ultrastructure of taste buds. In: Friedmann I (ed) The Ultrastructure of Sensory Organs. North Holland, Amsterdam London, pp 1–81Google Scholar
  23. Owen RL (1977) Sequential uptake of horseradish peroxidase by lymphoid follicle epithelium of Peyer's patches in the normal unobstructed mouse intestine: an ultrastructural study. Gastroenterology 72:440–451Google Scholar
  24. Qwarnström EE, Hand AR (1982) A light and electron microscopic study of the distribution and effects of water-soluble radiographic contrast medium after retrograde infusion into the rat submandibular gland. Arch Oral Biol 27:117–127Google Scholar
  25. Reale E, Luciano L (1965) Die Anwendung der Dowell'schen Präparatträger in der Histologie. J Microsc 4:405–408Google Scholar
  26. Rhodin JAG, Dalhamn T (1956) Electron microscopy of the trachea ciliated mucosa in rat. Z Zellforsch 44:345–412Google Scholar
  27. Trier JS, Allan CH, Marcial MA, Madara JL (1987) Structural features of the apical and tubolovesicular membranes of rodent small intestinal tuft cells. Anat Rec 219:69–77Google Scholar
  28. White DL, Mazurkiewicz JE, Barrnett RJ (1979) A chemical mechanism for tissue staining by osmium tetroxide-ferrocyanide mixtures. J Histochem Cytochem 27:1084–1091Google Scholar
  29. White DL, Mazurkiewicz JE, Barrnet RJ (1980) Authors reply to Dr. Behrman. J Histochem Cytochem 28:285–286Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Luciano
    • 1
  • E. Reale
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cell Biology and Electron MicroscopyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations